May 4th is the date Punjab Culture Commission will sit for the first time to discuss the issues with Punjabi Music and videos, with calls having already being made to artists and labels about video content, we thought it was only best that we ask the opinion of a video director, who has worked with some of the artists the new commission deem to be problematic.
T-Dot is a Canadian based video director, and he has worked on videos for various artists most notably Sidhu Moosewala, a man who it seems is never far from controversy.
We asked Rahul Chahal (Tdot Films) first of all how he felt about content control:
Look, it seems to me, that Punjabi music is for some reason being singled out, we have Hollywood/Bollywood films that show a lot more violence than Punjabi music videos, and to people who say that those films are longer, well try watching a film promo that does not feature Guns, fighting and things of a sexual nature.
So do you feel Punjabi music is being singled out?
I’m just saying, there seems to be one rule for some and one rule for us Punjabis, Punjabi music is very popular across India at the moment, and maybe the popularity of it has upset a few, it certainly feels like it.
Videos depicting violence and guns do not help.
You can go back through the history of Punjab and you will see it has always been a state that has been synonymous with guns and battles, India could have been taken over on so many occasions if it was not for the battles that took place in Punjab. Punjab has a history of using arms, you can watch films from way back to modern day that depict Punjab and guns and violence as being part and parcel of the way of life in Punjab.
We need to make people understand that what we are doing is providing people with entertainment, and nothing else, watching a 3 minute video with music and people dancing should in no way be seen as factual. It is called the entertainment industry.
Computer games are not banned and in those you role play the part of a gangster or a street villain, yet they are not banned.
Cinema, both Hollywood and Bollywood regularly use violence and sex to sell films, yet they are not banned, we have no watershed for films in India, sex and violence in those movies can be seen during part of the day, yet it is a 3 minute music video they are picking on!
Sidhu Moosewala is hugely popular, that is why he is being targeted for his lyrical content, and here is a good example.
Alcohol kills more people in Punjab than guns, yet why not ban alcohol? One of the biggest tracks of last year was 3 Peg by Sharry Maan, every party or event you go to it is played again and again, it is a great track, but is that not promoting alcohol use? Alcohol is easier to get hold of than a gun, India has more of an issue with alcohol than guns.
Will your creativity process be hampered by the recent events?
It will because if someone brings me a song that mentions alcohol and women, how the hell do I shoot that video without depicting such things.
Any ideas on how this can be changed?
At the start of each video, we need to have a disclaimer, stating that the song is solely to be viewed as entertainment and not something that is factual. It will need to highlight that the alcohol used is fake, the guns are fake and that the model starring in the video is also an artist. That would help the audience understand that things are solely for the purposes of entertainment. If you want to go further maybe follow the lead of certain films from back in the day and apply a logo in the top right hand side of the video, which will state what videos include.
The lines between entertainment and reality have been blurred, and by introducing what I have just said, maybe then people then will start appreciating what we do entertainment!
Big thank you too Rahul for taking timeout to talk to us in reference to this issue.